The vaping industry has just received the official endorsement from a significant, world-renowned psychiatry organization, the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership (MHSP). According to research, as much as 90 percent of patients suffering from severe mental disorders are also active, daily smokers. The trouble is that quitting smoking often exacerbates their symptoms, which can be dangerous to the patient as well as to others.
Mental health professionals, advocates, and counselors have been struggling for decades to find an effective, safe smoking cessation aid that actually works without increasing the anxiety and stress levels of the mentally challenged. Conventional nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) have only proven moderately successful at best. While NRTS tend to address the physical addictions related to tobacco, they do nothing to resolve the mental aspects of addiction.
Vaping addresses the emotional triggers of smoking
Research shows that smokers are probably more addicted to the hand-to-mouth actions and other emotional behaviors linked to smoking than they are to the cigarettes themselves. For example, smoking first thing in the morning or while drinking a cup of coffee is very commonplace. Smoking while driving a car or talking on the phone are examples of two other emotional triggers that NRTs simply fail to address.
Even for the healthiest of smokers, managing these types of cravings can be challenging. The extra stress can easily lead to bouts of irritability, moodiness, increased appetite, and other physical and emotional issues. But for patients suffering from severe mental disorders, the added stress of quitting smoking can sometimes be life-threatening.
After much debate and research, the MHSP in Great Britain is now recommending that medical and mental health professionals recommend vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool for their smoking patients. Officials of MHSP published the official endorsement of vaping on the British government website SmokeFreeAction.org.
“When appropriately tailored these interventions are also effective for people with mental health conditions. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is effective, but is likely to be required in high doses, for longer durations and with more intensive behavioural support than in the general population of smokers. Provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without the harmful components of tobacco smoke can prevent most of the harm from smoking.”
MHSP representatives also reference another frightening statistic. According to their data, smoking rates among the Brits is on a steady decline in recent years across most age groups and demographics. The only demographic that continues to see a consistent and steady uptick in smoking rates is the mentally challenged. The need to find and recommend an effective smoking cessation tool for the mental health community has never been more urgent. Vaping may be the psychiatry profession’s last best change to help millions of patients to quit smoking once and for all.